a thoroughly enjoyable essay! In your excellent historical overview, I found the following 2 quotes especially intriguing. First is a refreshing approach:
"... do we really need to talk about "forces". With hindsight, a force seems such an outdated concept. It can more conveniently be seen as a consequence of one to one quantum interactions. "
In this regard, what do you think about shape dynamics, the concept authored by Dr. Barbour, well written about by Daniel Wagner Fonteles (topic 1399)? The idea is new to me, having just learned it from Daniel's essay. Instinctively, I feel like this is the way to go.
Another quote from your essay about the Casimir force resonates with my geometrical approach to physics (in 4D geometry):
" The attractive force is inversely proportional to the fourth power of the distance when both objects are plates. Between a plate and a sphere, the force follows an inverse cube law. When both objects are spheres, it is an inverse square proportionality, like gravitation. Therefore, it seems rewarding to try to unify gravitation with the Casimir force. "
My conception is that space, energy and time are 3 aspects of one and the same, a process, evolving locally, with either one being the expression of the other two (thus shape dynamics appears to fit the modeling requirements). My approach to physics is visual and I see physics at low energies of our own experience in 4D. Because you are so learned and hang out with Tommaso, whose blog I enjoy immensely, I would very much value your feedback on my essay, especially since it will be already past the ratings and we then be relaxed ( http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1547 ) Thank you!